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By 2030, lab-grown diamonds are forecast to account for 10% (an estimated 19.2 million carats) of the global diamond trade – as found in a report by consultancy firm, Bain & Co. Forbes, meanwhile, states that rough (mined) diamond sales are expected to fall by 25%, owing to the current global recession, as well as the threat posed by lab-grown diamonds.
Synthetic diamonds are increasingly being embraced by purchasers who are interested in sustainable, kind, environmentally responsible alternatives that shine just like ‘the real thing’.
The Kimberley Process may have gone a long way towards removing ‘blood diamonds from the market, but many are viewing lab-grown diamonds as the ultimate stone for those who are deeply committed to sustainable lifestyles.
Everything Need to Know About Lab-Grown Diamonds
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Equal In Quality To Mined Diamonds?
One of the strongest forces driving the popularity of synthetic diamonds is quality. Because they contain a similar porous structure and sturdiness, they reflect light beautifully and are resistant to scratches and everyday wear.
Lab-grown diamonds also come in a wide array of colors, which fits right in with the current penchant for colored gemstones and diamonds in hues like canary yellow, sapphire blue, and emerald green. They also make popular gifts, since they are more reasonably priced than the natural alternative. Generally, lab diamonds cost around 30% less than natural diamonds bearing a similar size and quality.
Innovative Tech Embraced By Top Companies
De Beers, one of the frontrunners of lab-grown diamond technology, is one of a handful of firms that are investing heavily in this commodity. Currently, there are two methods used by synthetic diamond producers. The first is the ‘High-Pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) technique, which is mainly used in China, and which accounts for the vast majority of lab diamonds.
This technology copies the force of the subterranean Earth and involves the application of ultra-high heat and pressure to dissolve carbon into a diamond ‘seed’. This is a kind of ‘starter crystal’ from which a synthetic diamond can grow. The second system is newer and more innovative. Known as ‘Chemical Vapor Distribution’ (CVD), it layers carbon on a diamond seed within a vacuum chamber. This system is considered easier to manage, and it also requires less heat than HPTP.
Taking Its Cue From The Solar Energy Industry
The technology currently used to make synthetic diamonds via CVD was first used on a large scale by the solar energy industry in an effort to create materials required for solar panels. As stated in a study by M Varga and colleagues, CVD is considered “a low-cost technology for growing diamond films over a large area (>1 m2) at low pressure (<100 Pa) and at low temperature (even at 350 °C).” In order to boost diamond growth, applying the right gas mixture and gas pressure is key.
In their study, Varga and colleagues found that the addition of a small amount of carbon dioxide to a specific gas mixture significantly improved diamond growth. New technologies (such as the use of large-area pulsed microwave plasma systems and linear antenna arrangements) are continually being used to improve the quality of porous diamond structures. It is hoped that in the near future, synthetic diamonds can be produced at the scale required for use in nuclear batteries, laser equipment, and other industrial processes and equipment.
Heat and pressure are the secrets behind the growth of lab diamonds. They are a popular commodity owing to various factors – including quality and price. Lab-grown diamonds come in a wide range of colors, cuts, and styles, making them a popular choice for an audience that values environmental friendliness when making purchasing decisions.